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The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.
- Philip Kaufman
- Tom Wolfe
- Ladd Company, The
The post-WWII period in the US is a time of grandeur and hope, wanting to do things bigger and better than had ever been done before. Within the military, this attitude applies largely to flight, where there is a continual race not only to fly faster and higher, but do it first and especially before the Soviets. The men that are going to achieve these feats are the ones with the "right stuff". One of those initial targets is to break the sound barrier - Mach 1 - with pilots in the newly commissioned US Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California primarily those attempting the feat, many who will die in the process. But with what is happening in the Soviet Union will accelerate the American space program, which will largely usurp the political and public consciousness on those aeronautic feats. However, many within the space program and many pilots downgrade the importance of "man behind the wheel" in getting into space. Regardless, many pilots apply for the seven positions within the first American space program - Mercury - the seven chosen who do whatever they can to make flying expertise an important aspect of the job. In all these situations, the support from the women behind the men is demonstrated, they who have the continual fact of one in four not making it back from a flight in the front of their minds. The motivations of the individuals comprising the pilots, the astronauts and the wives are also shown.